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Wood-ology 101 on Cutting Board Wood Shades

30 Mar

march-woodBoardsWooden maple cutting boards made with premium quality hard maple wood makes a great portable cutting work surface or an elegant serving tray.  They also make a beautiful gift for holidays or anniversaries or housewarming!  Here is a little “wood-ology” about the variety in wood color, according to one of our leading Maple Leaf experts.


There are two types of maple wood that are harvested – summer maples and winter maples – when you see a hard maple that has more color that means the wood has been harvested in the summer because the sap in the maple is still in the tree, on a macro level, at the time it was cut.  When you see a board that is more toward the cream or white shades, that tree has been typically harvested during the winter and the sap has been harvested from the tree in all likelihood.


The boards are a natural product and it will vary.  The maple does patina over time and become more honey, especially when treated with butcher block oil.  A wooden cutting board is one of our favorite gift ideas, it’s something special they likely would not buy for themselves!

Check out our expanded article about this topic, Wood-ology 101, in Studio Insights.

Best wishes,

Renee

Holiday Peppermint Bark (Recipe!)

8 Dec

We were recently asked if we’d like to be a part of a homemade holiday gifts segment for WGN-TV.  Carol Mackey showed viewers her homemade peppermint bark in our personalized gift boxes … the perfect gift for friends and family!

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Carol was nice enough to share her recipe so we could share it with you.  Just in time for the holidays …

Peppermint Bark

Ingredients:
1 lb chopped bittersweet chocolate
peppermint extract
1 lb chopped white chocolate
crushed peppermint

Directions:
Line a 11×17 baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper. Melt bittersweet chocolate over a double boiler, stirring constantly. Stir in four drops peppermint oil or more to taste. Spread chocolate evenly onto the prepared cookie sheet. Chill until just set, about ½ hour. Melt white chocolate over double boiler, stirring constantly, if white chocolate seizes add a little canola oil. Quickly spread white chocolate mixture over chilled dark chocolate, spreading to the edge of the pan, sprinkle with peppermint. Chill until set. To cut, I trim the edges with a chef’s knife and then cut into squares and cut the squares into triangles.

 

I love how Carol tied off the boxes with red and white twine.  So festive and ready to gift!  Her homemade peppermint bark would make a great gift for teachers, friends, neighbors … anyone, really!  Of course, you can fill our boxes with any of your homemade goodies for the holidays.  I’ve even used them to give holiday treats for dogs (I love to bake homemade dog biscuits).

If you give homemade holiday treats, how do you gift them?  Share your creative ideas (and recipes!) with me in the comments below.

xoxo,

Jennifer

Photo courtesy of Carol Mackey.

To learn more about Carol Mackey and her recipes & classes, please visit her site at carolmackey.net

 

 

It’s a Wrap!

17 Nov

 

The holidays can be stressful!  We work so hard trying to buy the right gifts for everyone on our list and getting it all done in time so we can enjoy the time with friends and family.  I enjoy wrapping the presents with beautiful paper and ribbons so they look great under the tree.  I know that’s the part most people dread!  But it you plan and add some fun elements to your gift wrapping, you can really make if bearable (it’s true!).  Here are some gift wrapping tips that have worked well for me:

wrappingpaper

  • Invest in one of those plastic bins or containers that let’s you organize your wrapping supplies.  It really helps when you’re ready to wrap!
  • Shop right after the holidays for great sales on gift wrapping supplies.  Store away for the following year.
  • Focus on one element that will really make your gifts stand out.  Maybe you choose personalized gift wrap and then a simple ribbon.  Or try simple paper and beautiful, bold ribbon.
  • Have the kids get in on the fun!  Give them a roll of kraft paper and they can doodle holiday pictures and messages.
  • Try personalized gift tags to save time and give presents a beautiful finishing touch.
  • Tie it all up with personalized ribbon.  It dresses up every gift!  Personalized ribbon is great for wine bottles and homemade treats, too.

What ideas do you have for gift wrapping that help you make it fun, creative or time-saving?  Let us know in the comments below!

Happy Holidays!

xoxo,

Jennifer